Developing the workforce of the future through Degree Apprenticeships.

Posted on 18th February 2016

Businesses will be able to apply to ‘grow their own graduate’ to fit their company’s needs, thanks to a new suite of apprenticeships being offered at the University of Chester.

The University has been successful in its bid to attract Skills Funding Agency money to develop and deliver Degree Apprenticeships. The University’s Business School is the first part of the University to offer these unique degree programmes, which will benefit young people, existing employees and regional businesses.

Degree Apprenticeships offer an apprentice the opportunity to combine working, while studying for a work-based academic or vocational high level qualification.

Degree Apprenticeships are the latest model to be developed as part of higher apprenticeship standards, with apprentices achieving a full bachelor’s or master’s degree as a core component of the programmes. They combine higher and vocational education and fully test both the wider occupational competence and academic learning, either using a fully-integrated degree co-designed by employers and Higher Education Institutions, such as the University of Chester, or using a degree plus separate end test of professional competence.

This brand new government initiative allows any organisation to access funding of at least two thirds (£18,000) of the full cost of a Degree Apprenticeship, with the aim of recruiting new members of staff, or to develop an existing employee to effectively “grow their own graduate”. In addition to this, there are excellent final bonuses of £2,700 for companies, who ensure completion of the apprenticeships; £2,700 for SMEs; and a generous £5,400 on top for companies who recruit an 18-year-old. This means that the overall cost of the Apprenticeship becomes very competitive and entirely fee neutral in certain circumstances.

It also means that large companies can tap into the proposed government levy (a topic which is high on many corporate agendas) and cover the full cost of a Degree Apprenticeship (£27,000) by reclaiming what they have paid in, and more if needed, via digital vouchers. 

The first Degree Apprenticeship at the University of Chester is for aspiring leaders and managers and this brand new programme incorporates fully embedded professional body qualifications from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), leading to a BA (Hons) Business Management and Leadership, plus ILM Diplomas in Leadership and Management at Levels 4, 5 and 6, plus Chartered Manager status.

Clare Schofield, Associate Dean said: “We’re excited to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity to our regional businesses and have an excellent track record in working in these types of partnerships and particularly in delivering work based learning, for which we are world renowned. The University will clearly also benefit in developing these programmes through tighter engagement with external partners”.

Chester Business School is delighted to announce that Chester Business Club is partnering with it to launch this new initiative to members. Nick Hodson, Chairman of Chester Business Club, said: “Chester Business Club has a long and proud tradition of supporting local business initiatives. We’re very proud that the University of Chester has asked us to help launch this ground breaking new degree course. Small businesses throughout the country have been looking for a vocational qualification that’s held in high regard for many years now. With this new degree, I believe that the University of Chester will help local businesses significantly and provide the kind of graduates that will go on to make Chester a much more vibrant and successful economy in the years ahead.”

As part of this collaborative partnership, there will be a breakfast network meeting and presentation from 8am on Monday, March 14, which coincides with the start of National Apprenticeships’ Week. This will take place at the University’s Queen’s Park Campus and will give employers the chance to ask questions and meet representatives from the University, Chester Business Club, the Institute of Leadership and Management and the Skills Funding Agency.

If you would like to find out more about this exciting opportunity, or book on to this event, please contact Lisa Rowe or visit

To find out more about Chester Business Club please visit